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  • Women naginatas

    i know the traditional aspect that women learned naginata to defend themselves from a bigger stronger man but these days it seems all the instructors are women. Is that because men just generally don't enjoy naginata or what.

  • #2
    Check out Ellis Amdurs article.

    However, honestly speaking, I cant imagine woman using a real naginata (and most men for that matter!). Im not sure, but im guessing women defending the home with their naginatas is an Edo-jidai construct used to mythologise/romanticise the bushi (and their woman) of past - more glorious - times.

    Then during the early 20th Century Naginata was used under an increasingly aggressive military government to (much like kendo was with boys) train girls/women. Both kendo and naginata have little use on the front lines, so it was probably meant to indoctor Japanese "values" in them.

    Anyway, in Japan at least, its seen almost an exclusively a womans domain. Good place to meet a GF if you are struggling for some luvin.

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    • #3
      Is that because men just generally don't enjoy naginata or what
      KO, you need to look OUTSIDE Japan for this. Seriously, in our experience (Europe wise) I'd say its about 60-70% guys doing Naginata... and for Britain, 90% of the enquiries are from blokes.

      The recent Worlds in Belgium, I think opened up the eyes of the visiting Japanese as to how popular Naginata was amongst the guys, and how high the standard is. I don't know what assumption you're basing your experience on, of only having really seen women Naginata teachers... its only in Japan I get women instructors as yes, Naginata is primarily women there, but that's historical.

      Its only Japanese ex-pats here who take the p1ss that Naginata is "for girls"... some of the nicest Japanese male instructors are two inspirational kind people I'm priveleged to have been instructed by, the now infamous Suzuki (Wataru) and Ebisawa (Ban) san. A small (by that I mean over 100 !) seminar I attended a couple of years back near Yoyogi Koen (Tokyo), was about 50-50 guys/girls - young ones, I was totally shocked, as I'd never seen so many Japanese guys doing Naginata in one room, at once... so things are changing, even in Japan...

      ...anyway that's personal experience, others will no doubt have different views...

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      • #4
        here in chile i have more guys interested than girls... maybe is because almost the 75% are ikendo people?
        anyway, naginata only for women is over like 100 years ago

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        • #5
          Hmmm...
          One of the two dominant schools of influence on Atarashi naginata was lead by male teachers until only two generations ago, and the other school is the product of a man and his wife, and I believe currently has a male Soke.

          I think that historically male use of the naginata outweighs womens use of it. That said, it has come to be dominated by women (in Japan) in recent times, but that trend is once again shifting towards a more gender balanced make-up of the art's exponents.

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          • #6
            There's a horrible stereotype among the general population in Japan that a naginata is a womens weapon. I've been informed by soooo many people that I'm doing something girly. Even after I tell them that half of my dojo (in Japan) is male. Yes we're an exception but most people don't know that. Remember too that the average person in Japan thinks martial arts are quaint and something you do as a kid but you give it up for a real hobby like footsal once you go to university. Sad really.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kagerou View Post
              There's a horrible stereotype among the general population in Japan that a naginata is a womens weapon.
              Hm... "horrible" is a bit hard, right? I mean, a lot of weapons have been connected with worse kinds of people than women. And why should be care about the views of ignorant people? Even if the male part of naginata practitioners is growing there are a lot more women doing naginata than men and as the rest of the martial arts are the opposite it is not totally wrong to say that it is a womens sport. Historically it is not that wrong to call it a womens weapon too even if the weapon very rarely was used by women in real combat. AFAIK it is the only weapon in the world that is connected with women. And so what? I like women

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              • #8
                Humm taking into consideration that when I first took up Naginata I was the ONLY woman. I agree with Lucy Lu Lady that the Worlds was a bit of an eye opener for the Japanese Sensei as to the calabre of men who enjoy this martial art. In battle, the Naginata was a pretty nasty weapon to use against Samuri esp those on horse back. Cutting the poor horses down then stabbing the rider as they flashed past, ensured maximum damage. If the Naginata broke it would be either a handy jo or a shortish katana. Besides it has only been the last two years that I have been taught by women and, to be quite frank so long as I enjoy it and don't get too damaged and to work hard, it is rather surprising what you can do with it. Besides I have constantly been screamed at to cutail my Kei.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jakob Ryngen View Post
                  Hm... "horrible" is a bit hard, right? I mean, a lot of weapons have been connected with worse kinds of people than women.
                  The stereotype is horrible not women. In general I find most stereotypes to be horrible.

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                  • #10
                    I think there has been a great suprise for a number of Japanese Sensei with just how many men have taken up Naginata outside Japan. I'm guessing that because we don't have the preconceived notion that the Naginata is automatically associated with women there is nothing stopping us from starting.

                    As a person who has studied a number of martial arts over the years I was suprised when I went to my first Naginata seminar and saw so many women there (not that I'm complaining you understand ). Most martial art seminars and classes in England are usually at least 80% male dominated.

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                    • #11
                      there are many reasons as to why there's a huge women population in the naginata world;

                      one is the samurai wives learning to defend their villages from attack

                      the other is that since naginata has that reputation of being a "girly sport"--boys (at least in Japan) are more hesitant to take it.

                      kendo also seems to be more popular for reasons such as a large number of police officers, high schoolers, businessmen, etc...train in it. Plus the kendo federation has more funding than the naginata federation (the AJKF and AJNF used to be in one federation until AJKF kicked them out, leaving the naginata federation with like no money).

                      I would figure that the reason why so many men want to study naginata is to pick up cute girls or something :P I mean, that's at least what a couple of guys wrote on their shodan exams...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dragon Ninja View Post
                        I would figure that the reason why so many men want to study naginata is to pick up cute girls or something :P I mean, that's at least what a couple of guys wrote on their shodan exams...
                        nice! all class....all low

                        I'm sure that if you spread that around the dojo those guys would never get a date

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                        • #13
                          hey it's not coming from my, my sensei's husband and one of my sempai wrote on their exams that they wanted to start naginata to meet cute girls :P

                          I mean I guess it worked for my sensei's husband, I dunno about my sempai though...

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                          • #14
                            Ah so there's no longer any potential for mayhem....oh well.

                            I should ask the guys in my dojo why they started....

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dragon Ninja View Post
                              hey it's not coming from my, my sensei's husband and one of my sempai wrote on their exams that they wanted to start naginata to meet cute girls :P
                              Cute girls practicing naginata in Japan... Just a myth... they are nowhere to be found... (except you, considering your pictures... it would be a joyful moment to share some training !)
                              Guys'd rather join a dance group or start capoeira..!
                              Last edited by snooz2k2; 13th February 2008, 05:11 PM.

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